Spoilers ahead. You have been warned.
There’s a feeling of dread I get deep down in the pit of my stomach when there’s going to be a new Dalek episode of Doctor Who. I really have a kind of hate-hate relationship with the things and I understand their importance to the series, their iconic status and their history; I also understand that there hasn’t been much new done with them throughout all of the new series and the only time they have ever really been interesting for me was last season’s Asylum of the Dalek.
This is probably a strange thing to here from a Doctor Who fan, but I hate the Daleks. Maybe it’s because the goddamn things were shoved down our throats every season for five straight seasons, in what seemed to be mostly two part episodes. In fact, the only season that didn’t end with Daleks until five, was three.
And that was utter shit.
So we come to the current season and the current Doctor. This is probably the first time the Daleks have been just okay for me. I wasn’t annoyed by them. I wasn’t really upset with them or impressed the way I was with Asylum. I was okay with them and I really feel like this was a vessel (no pun intended) for us to learn more about Capaldi’s Doctor.
He’s openly callous, more ruthless and has a darker feel. That’s the thing that resonates here. The Daleks were really just an after thought, and considering they originally weren’t going to be in this season it’s possible that some other bad guy was occupying this space before the Dalek was written in to replace it.
Maybe it was a giant Cyberman or something?
We’re also getting a sense of Clara. She’s snarky and compassionate and stands up to the Doctor. She seems to be taking her conversation with Matt Smith’s Doctor to heart. She’s there to care for this Doctor and to watch over him.
I was really hoping to have there be some recognition between the Daleks and Clara. I don’t know how, but I had hoped there was some shout out to last season when we were first introduced to the future version of Clara, Oswin Oswald
Where this supposed new companion fits into this, I can’t really tell. I’m really interested in him because he’s going to be the first actual soldier in the TARDIS long term in a while. I feel like if there’s too much more action added because of him it could lead to more bitching from fans (because there is a whole sect of Doctor Who fans ready to bitch at a moments notice—I seriously read an argument the other day where someone was saying that Capaldi said “Aye” once and hadn’t said it again and that it was too inconsistent).
. I think it’s also nice that the character, who appears to be black, doesn’t seem to be occupy a typical black or male role. He’s somewhat sensitive and he’s not gruff or thuggish or anything like that. Maybe that’s not a British TV problem the way it is over here—but it’s a real issue in the states still and when I see some show shy away from it, I’m glad.
Season eight is still largely up in the air. There’s the heaven thing with the woman fans are calling “Missy” that I still can’t see the connection with yet. There’s the mystery surrounding the Doctor’s faces and here he gets them. There’s even some meta questions about the future of Clara in the show. I could see this being a strong season, maybe stronger than six (my hierarchy of seasons goes 5,6,7,4,2,3,1)
This episode resembled Beast Below to me (season five episode two). I like Beast, but it has major issues with tone and what it wanted to be and the saving grace were the interactions between Karen Gillan and Matt Smith. I feel like the same thing could be said of this episode and Jennna Louise Coleman and Peter Capladi